New Painless Office Treatment Halts Blinding Keratoconus

Jan 04, 2016, 08:30 ET from Mercy Health System

MCHENRY, Ill., Jan. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- You are healthy and are in the prime of life, but your vision is failing.  Glasses no longer provide the clear vision you once had.  The streamers and halos around lights won't go away.  The doctor says you have increased astigmatism. Maybe you need special hard contact lenses to see.  You probably have keratoconus and the condition will likely worsen severely with further loss of sight without treatment.

About 150,000 people in the United States are suffering from keratoconus and many do not know it until the eyes are seriously damaged. Covering the eye with a contact lens can give temporary sight but can give a false sense of security and definitely does not stop further eye damage.  An office procedure called corneal cross-linking with riboflavin and UV-A light has a good reputation worldwide for stopping the disease worldwide but is still under FDA study in the U.S.

Effective stoppage of keratoconus has required a week off work, some pain, and some small risk of eye infection during that week.  But new results published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Cornea have shown the effectiveness in a two-year study of a new cross-linking technique and a new riboflavin-containing medication that allows for painless and very rapid recovery after treatment.  The National Library or Medicine summary is available at .

The rapid healing technique, freely available in Europe, has been given the US FDA okay to start clinical testing in the United States with the first clinical testing located in McHenry, Illinois near Chicago under the direction of Robert L. Epstein, MD.   Information on enrolling for treatment is available through or 1-800-I-CAN-SEE (422-6733). 


Robert L. Epstein, MD

SOURCE Mercy Health System